Indoor environments are notoriously difficult to manage - be it an office, a train station or a factory. To maintain the conditions that ensure optimum employee health and productivity while meeting regulatory standards and cutting facility costs is a tough balance to strike.
So, what if there was a system to help you monitor indoor conditions with easy-to-interpret data that can help you make informed decisions to improve your facility’s health?
Ergosense was built with exactly this in mind.
Boasting years of experience in the interior-architecture, furniture-design and software system design industries, the founders of Ergosense looked for a way to easily and effectively manage indoor environments. Their goal is to help individuals and companies achieve healthy indoor environments through a system that provides users with accurate, aggregated and sensible information that will allow them to use real data to optimize office building facilities and behavior patterns.
They discovered a need for a system that compiled the data required to make strategic facilities decisions. While there were individual products on the market, there was not one holistic solution. So they created one.
Using smart sensors that communicate without the use of Wi-Fi, Ergosense can effectively measure a multitude of elements that impact facilities, including:
This is the measurement that tells you which workspaces are in use. Measuring occupancy is crucial in space planning and workspace optimization. It shows how often specific areas are used and can assist one in making better decisions about how to move the space, purchase furniture or manage employee attendance day by day.
Low: This could indicate underutilization of space, possibly indicating the need to make adjustments. High: High occupancy can indicate optimum space usage or crowding - which could mean your space needs expanding or reconfiguration.
Measuring temperature helps establish which areas in your space are warmer or cooler. It can aid in making improvements to ensure optimal conditions are managed throughout the space.
Low: Office temperatures that are sub-optimal have been linked to lower employee productivity. (Hedge, A., Sakr, W., & Agarwal, A. 2005) High: Above optimal temperatures can lead to lethargy and increased discomfort and fatigue; and creates ideal conditions for mould, mites and bacterial growth.
Measuring the percentage of water vapour in the air is crucial to aid the effective management of indoor environments. Maintaining good humidity levels allow improved temperature management and can contribute to better employee health. (Arundel, et al., 1986) Low: When the humidity in a space is low, humans can perceive the ambient temperature as cooler than it is. Low humidity is also tied to irritation of the nasal passages, skin, and throat dryness.
High: Humidity levels that are too high can increase perspiration, which could lead to exhaustion. High humidity also promotes conditions conducive for mould and bacterial growth, one of the major causes of Sick building syndrome. (Joshi, 2008)
Managing the sound levels in your office to ensure a comfortable and productive environment is of crucial importance. Following a 2001 study, an environmental psychologist from Cornell University has found that even moderately noisy offices could greatly impact an employee’s heart and musculoskeletal health. Low: Low sound levels can contribute to better concentration, decreased stress levels and better overall employee health. High: Noisier offices have been linked to increased stress levels and lower productivity. (Journal of Applied Psychology Vol. 85, No. 5, pp. 779-783, 2000)
Different types of work require different types of lighting, it is also worthwhile to note that lighting conditions can greatly influence employee productivity and health. Low: Inadequate lighting can lead to eye strain, irritation, fatigue, and headaches, among other problems, and research has found darker work areas can negatively influence the human body’s natural cycle. (Brown, 1994) High: With similar effects to low lighting conditions, such as eye strain, irritation, fatigue and headaches, spaces with increased light can also have increased glare and temperature as a consequence.
CCommonly known as volatile compounds, this looks at harmful carbon-containing chemicals present in an area. TVOC summarizes the VOC concentration of multiple airborne This excludes inorganic carbon-containing gases such as carbon dioxide (discussed below). The Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank at the Indoor Environment Group of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, writes these are “emitted into indoor air from building materials, furnishings, cleaning compounds, office equipment, personal care products, air fresheners, pesticides, occupant activities, and unvented combustion processes”. Low: Effective indoor environmental management can see very low TVOC levels in the workplace, which in turn result in a lower long-term risk to employees.
High: High levels of TVOC have been linked to an array of health problems, such as sensory irritation, allergies, asthma, and related respiratory effects. Effective management thereof sees cleaner air in indoor environments which aids overall health.
As an inorganic carbon-containing gas, carbon dioxide is a crucial element that impacts the overall air quality of a facility. High: Recently, a two-year study by Oxford Brookes University and LCMB Building Performance in the UK found that increased CO2 levels not only influence employee productivity, but can influence decision making, result in slower reaction times and increased employee tiredness.